Block Chain

The invention of the blockchain for bitcoin made it the first digital currency to solve the double-spending problem without the need of a trusted authority or central server.

Block Chain Definition

The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.

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Applications

Cryptocurrencies

Most cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology to record transactions. For example, the bitcoin network and Ethereum network are blockchain-based.

Smart contracts

Blockchain-based smart contracts are proposed contracts that could be partially or fully executed or enforced without human interaction.One of the main objectives of a smart contract is automated escrow. An IMF staff discussion reported that smart contracts based on blockchain technology might reduce moral hazards and optimize the use of contracts in general. But "no viable smart contract systems have yet emerged." Due to the lack of widespread use their legal status is unclear

Banks

Major portions of the financial industry are implementing distributed ledgers for use in banking, and according to a September 2016 IBM study, this is occurring faster than expected.Banks are interested in this technology because it has potential to speed up back office settlement systems.Banks such as UBS are opening new research labs dedicated to blockchain technology in order to explore how blockchain can be used in financial services to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Berenberg, a German bank, believes that blockchain is an "overhyped technology" that has had a large number of "proofs of concept", but still has major challenges, and very few success stories.

Who's using it?

Travel and hospitality

Keeping customers happy is key to the travel and hotel industry, but customer satisfaction can be hard to gauge - especially in a timely manner. Resorts and casinos, for example, have only a short window of opportunity to turn around a customer experience that?s going south fast. Big data analytics gives these businesses the ability to collect customer data, apply analytics and immediately identify potential problems before it?s too late.

Health care

Big data is a given in the health care industry. Patient records, health plans, insurance information and other types of information can be difficult to manage - but are full of key insights once analytics are applied. That?s why big data analytics technology is so important to heath care. By analyzing large amounts of information - both structured and unstructured - quickly, health care providers can provide lifesaving diagnoses or treatment options almost immediately.

Government

Certain government agencies face a big challenge: tighten the budget without compromising quality or productivity. This is particularly troublesome with law enforcement agencies, which are struggling to keep crime rates down with relatively scarce resources. And that's why many agencies use big data analytics; the technology streamlines operations while giving the agency a more holistic view of criminal activity.

Retail

Customer service has evolved in the past several years, as savvier shoppers expect retailers to understand exactly what they need, when they need it. Big data analytics technology helps retailers meet those demands. Armed with endless amounts of data from customer loyalty programs, buying habits and other sources, retailers not only have an in-depth understanding of their customers, they can also predict trends, recommend new products - and boost profitability.

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